By Jon Weisman
Dodger pals Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Uribe do so many other things together, they might as well come off the disabled list together.
Ryu (out since August 13) and Uribe (out since August 15) are in the starting lineup for the Dodgers today, with Carlos Frias and Miguel Rojas taking the smallest of detours to the roster of Triple-A Albuquerque. Frias and Rojas can rejoin the Dodgers after the Isotopes’ play their final game of 2014 on Monday.
Other reinforcements from the minors can come as soon as Monday, when rosters expand to up to 40 players.
Before leaving his August 13 start with two outs in the sixth inning, Ryu had made five consecutive quality starts (averaging 6.5 innings with an ERA of 1.91), nine quality starts in his past 10 and 14 out of 16 since his previous DL stint ended May 21. He has a 3.28 ERA and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Uribe is batting .293 this year, albeit with only 12 walks, and is the National League’s top-ranked defensive third baseman, according to Fangraphs.
Though it was ultimately in vain, the Dodger defense put on a show Saturday. Take a look.
— Jon Weisman
For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Throughout their history, like any other team, the Dodgers have hit the wall offensively from time to time, far worse than their three runs in 22 innings this weekend in San Diego, including Saturday’s 2-1, 10-inning loss.
Only two years ago, there were three consecutive shutouts by the Giants. And before that, these droughts from 2007 and 2003. And so on back through time. It’s almost impossible for anything to surpass the 33 consecutive scoreless innings that finished the 1966 World Series, a year before I was born.
In my own lifetime, the pinnacle of offensive debacles was the first two games of the 1981 National League Division Series, which left me with as hopeless a feeling as I’ve ever had: 20 innings, one run, two walkoff losses.
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That was tough stuff. But the Dodgers came home and outscored Houston, 12-2, in the final three games of the NLDS and were on their way to the next round.
The 1988 Dodgers practically hung their legacy on being offensively challenged, a branding that’s only partially deserved (they were slightly below average in offense but seaworthy, before the injuries to Kirk Gibson and others nearly through them overboard). Better offensive teams than the ’88 Dodgers have come up short, but there’s no way to know in advance. Repeat: there’s no way. In the end, the team is either going to score when it counts or it won’t.
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers’ rumored interest in slugger Adam Dunn naturally would make one wonder where he would fit on a theoretical postseason roster. Though Dunn appears to be headed to Oakland, with tonight’s 9 p.m. deadline to acquire players for postseason play, let’s take a completely unofficial look at how the Dodgers’ playoff 25 would stack up if no moves are made today.
Starting pitchers (4): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren
Relief pitchers (7): Kenley Jansen, J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson, Jamey Wright, and Brandon League, plus two from Pedro Baez, Roberto Hernandez, Chris Perez and Paco Rodriguez
Starting lineup (8): A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon, Hanley Ramirez, Juan Uribe, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp
Bench (6): Drew Butera, Justin Turner, Miguel Rojas, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke and one from Erisbel Arruebarrena, Darwin Barney or Alex Guerrero (or, dare we speculate, Joc Pederson)
For more photos from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Back in April – admittedly, when the season wasn’t even a month old – I couldn’t help but comment on the remarkable number of strikeouts that were piling up in Dodger games.
At the time, the Dodgers were far ahead of team-record strikeout paces both on offense and on the mound. Now that we’ve only got a month to go, and with the team striking out 15 times in their 3-2, 12-inning loss Friday, I thought I’d see where things stood.
1,190 strikeouts in 1996 (team record)
1,033 strikeouts to date in 2014 (135 games)
1,240 projected strikeouts in 2014
7.65 strikeouts per game in 2014
5.81 strikeouts per game needed to break record
1,292 strikeouts in 2013 (team record)
1,133 strikeouts to date in 2014 (135 games)
1,360 projected strikeouts in 2014
8.39 strikeouts per game in 2014
5.93 strikeouts per game needed to break record
So yeah, it’s practically a lock that those records are going to fall. Perhaps it’s just a symptom of the game’s evolution toward more and more strikeouts – even on its record pace, the Dodger offense is only fifth in the National League in whiffs. (Dodger pitchers rank first in the NL. )
However, it’s interesting that the strikeout record on offense is nearly 20 years old. The ’96 Dodgers had six players with at least 90 strikeouts, including 121 from Eric Karros, 122 from Raul Mondesi and 124 from … Delino DeShields.
Here’s the 2014 Dodgers’ record in big strikeout games on offense:
By Jon Weisman
The radical, four-on-the-floor finish to one of the crazier 3-2 games you’ll see might not soon be forgotten. Then again it might, if these kinds of extreme defensive shifts become more commonplace.
Two things strike me about this moment of the Dodgers placing four fielders between first and second base:
- How close it came to working to perfection. Even with Dee Gordon’s throw bouncing home, the Dodgers missed the inning-ending double play by a hair.
- Because Andre Ethier was still officially a center fielder at this point even though he was stationed at first (with Adrian Gonzalez to his right), we just missed seeing a 4-2-8 double play.
Gordon had some rough times in Friday’s loss to the Padres, going 0 for 6 with a throwing error, though he hit a monster fly ball with one on in the fifth that deserved to be a go-ahead home run (inside or outside the park), only for Rymer Liriano to flag it at the top of the fence.
Actually, the lingering sensation from Friday’s game might center on Hanley Ramirez, who came within a triple of the cycle even though he injured himself again, this time slipping on a wet base – and then getting called out via replay on his attempt to make it back to first. Ramirez, who hit an even more monstrous fly ball in the eighth to actually tie the game, looked Pedro Guerreroesque circling the bases (fans of a certain age will recall Guerrero hurting his back on a home run swing and barely making it around the diamond).
The Dodgers have had a welcome week’s worth of good news on the injury front, but that’s now in jeopardy.
By Jon Weisman
Matt Kemp, who had eight home runs for the season one month ago, has moved in position to lead the Dodgers in circuit clouts.
Kemp has doubled his 2014 homer total since July 29, moving past Scott Van Slyke, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez to within two of Adrian Gonzalez. He has a .584 slugging percentage and .923 OPS in that time.
What’s weird about the potential of Kemp leading the Dodgers in home runs is that he won’t lead them in innings played at any position. He is all but guaranteed to finish behind Carl Crawford in left field, Yasiel Puig in right field and either Puig or Andre Ethier in center.
(That’s right: Puig could lead the Dodgers in time served in both center and right field, though Ethier is likely to prevail in center by at least a few innings. Puig, 0 for his last 18 with six walks, is not in tonight’s starting lineup. )
While Kemp has certainly been a regular in the outfield, his season will be split fairly neatly among the three positions. So far, Kemp has played 369 1/3 innings in left, 326 in center and 287 1/3 in right.
The last Dodger to lead the team in home runs without a regular position was Al Ferrara, who hit 16 homers in 1967 while playing fewer innings in right field than Ron Fairly and fewer in left than three other players. Ferrara led the Dodgers in home runs despite only starting 87 games that year.
Meanwhile, Van Slyke, who hit his 10th home run and first since July 22 on Wednesday, appears to have escaped serious injury after rolling his ankle. He told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com today that he was fine and ready to play.
By Cary Osborne
You can’t help but be encouraged by some of the stuff going on at the lower levels in the Dodger organization — teams in playoff position, with power at the plate (including a home run record) and dominance on the mound (including a no-hitter). Obviously, hope is tempered by the fact that these guys have a long way to go, but there are some promising signs.
By Yvonne Carrasco
On Thursday, while the Dodgers enjoyed their off day, the official Twitter account of the Dodgers’ public relations staff, @DodgersPR, published a photo of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrín and legendary Mexican comic and actor Mario Moreno, made famous as Cantinflas. A biopic on Cantinflas is limited release beginning today. out in theatres soon.
The photo caught the eye of Spanish-language newspaper Hoy, and editor Eduard Cauich reached Jarrín on Thursday for some background. The story will run Monday in Hoy.
For fans interested in the background, here is what Cauich found out and what was told in the aforementioned Hoy note:
This photo dates back to 1961, on a day when Cantinflas was recognized by the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. Jarrín is interviewing him and at the time was 25.
“Back then I was news director at KWKW, and Mario Moreno was being honored,” said Jarrin.”I was a very thin man. I started to gain weight in my 40s. There, I’m about 130 pounds.
“I first met Cantinflas through his family doctor, Dr. Rodriguez, who was also doctor to Julio Iglesias (renowned Spanish singer, father to pop star Enrique Iglesias). He invited me to a couple of functions in his home where Cantinflas was present. Cantinflas was a very kind person, and we became good friends.
“One day I invited him into the (Dodgers’ Spanish radio) booth, and on that day Fernando Valenzuela was playing. I asked him to do the a little of the play-by-play when Valenzuela was batting and he did.”
By Cary Osborne
In case you missed it, there were two Dodger organization no-hitters on Thursday. In the afternoon, four pitchers combined on a no-hitter for the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers and in the evening, Andres Santiago tossed a no-hitter for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts in a 1-0 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in Chattanooga.
It was the first no-hitter for a Dodger minor leaguer as a Lookout and first no-hitter for Chattanooga since 1996 (Travis Buckley).
The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 12 and took a perfect game into the eighth inning, but issued a walk to Smokie Christian Villanueva.
“This is something that I’m going to remember forever. August 28, 2014 — no-hitter,” Santiago told Milb.com. “It’s something that you dream about, and it’s hard to get it, but when you get it, it’s like an unbelievable feeling.”
Santiago lasted just 1 1/3 innings on Aug. 17, surrendering seven earned runs. In his two starts since, he’s allowed five hits, three walks and one earned run in 16 innings. On the season he has a 4.47 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 129 innings. In the second half of the season (71 1/3 innings), he has a 3.15 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.
Chris O’Brien’s sixth homer of the season in the second inning gave Chattanooga and Santiago the run they needed.
Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2014